Still looking for Halloween costume ideas?

Last year Ann posted some amazing non-sexist, non-racist Halloween costume ideas. I’m reviving the tradition with today’s post, which includes all of Ann’s suggestions from last year, with a few updates.

2010 edition:

(Warning, I’m not as funny as Ann, but I will try my best)

Constance McMillen (she was the star lesbian youth activist this year, and what better way to commemorate her?)

Constance wearing a rainbow sash

Needed: Rainbow sash, large dark wig, serious bravery. Alternative: Tux to dress as she would have, if she could have gone to prom (like this maybe).
Related ideas
: Any of the brave young LGBTQ folks who tried to go to prom, or be elected prom king/queen this year.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga with long blonde hair, glasses and red leotard like thing

Needed: Big sunglasses, long blonde wig, spandex, patterned stockings
Related ideas
: Madonna

Mad Men Cast (Group idea!)
Photo of entire cast of mad men

Needed: 60s style clothing, cut-throat attitude, skinny tie, (fake) cigarette, booze in glass on ice
: Cast of Glee, Lost, Weeds

America Ferrara as Dolores Huerta (idea via Bitch Magazine)

America Ferrara holding up a

Needed: Plaid shirt, blue jeans, cardboard with “Huelga” written on it
: Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug

Rachel Maddow
Maddow at Jay Leno, cowboy shirt and glasses

Needed: Big black glasses, short wig, cowboy shirt
: A slightly more femme version of Maddow (ala TV show), sans glasses, add lip gloss and women’s blazer

For more ideas, check out the #feministhalloween hashtag on twitter.

After the jump we’ve got Ann’s awesome ideas from last year, with a few updates.

Post your costume ideas in comments, including instructions on putting them together.

Ann’s suggestions from 2009:

Every year we read about the worst sexist and racist Halloween costumes. And get really angry or bummed out about what should be a fun excuse to play dress-up.

So let’s discuss some alternatives, shall we? Most of these ideas can be thrown together last-minute — because how many of us really plan our costumes that far in advance? (Warning: Some ideas may contain shoulder pads.)

Radical, Militant Librarian

Need: Books, beret, sash, “shushing” skills.
Related ideas: Radical Doula (heeeyyy Miriam!), Radical Cheerleader, Radical Zombie

The Ghost of Health Care Bills Past The Public Option

Need: White sheet, stethoscope
Related ideas: Ghost of Single-Payer (2010 addition), Ghost of Immigration Reform Bills Past, Ghost of Equal Rights Amendments Past. (Or apparently, given the image I’ve selected, Ghosts of Stevie Nicks Past.)

A Photoshop Disaster

Need: A t-shirt with a body drawn on it that’s less than half the size of your own. Or something (Haven’t really figured out how to make this one work yet…)
Related ideas: This is part of the grand Halloween tradition of just drawing some shit on a T-shirt… Could also be done with a Death Becomes Her Halloweeny twist.

Kanye West

Need: These, microphone, and a willingness to repeatedly make the “Imma let you finish” joke.
Related ideas: Taylor Swift (Couple costume!)

Nancy Pelosi

Need: Suit (preferably w/ skirt, not pants), gavel, shades, funky-but-understated jewelry.
Related ideas: Condi Rice, Hillary Clinton.

Dolly Parton

Need: Blonde wig, lots of sequins, guitar, falsies.
Related ideas: Leslie Hall

John Waters

Need: Garish-patterned suit jacket, drawn-on thin mustache, bowtie, drag-queen pals.
Related ideas: A dandy, Steve Buscemi (but only if you’ve got the looks for it.)

Judy the Talking Embryo

Need: Garbage bag, helium (to either inflate the bag or inhale to make your voice embyro-like). More info here.
Related ideas: Betty the Talking Blastocyst, Ollie the Talking Ovum.

Rickie Vasquez (from My So-Called Life)

Need: Drum-major jacket, hair gel, earring, shoulder pads, a buddy to go as Angela Chase.
Related ideas: Thriller-era Michael Jackson, actual drum major

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Need: Lacy neckerchief thing, black robe, clip-on earrings, bun, glasses.
Related ideas: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan (2010 addition)

Heathers (Group idea!)

Need: Blazer with serious shoulder pads, croquet mallet, AquaNet, white tights.
Related ideas: 90210 (the original, obvs)

Richard Simmons

Need: Short track shorts, curly wig, thick white socks, tank top.
Related ideas: Evil aerobic clown

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

Need: Fur, face paint, friends who like 30 Rock and will get the joke once you start singing.
Related ideas: Vampire Bar Mitzvah, Goblin Bar Mitzvah

Bea Arthur (RIP! This is an in-memoriam costume idea, one that I will probably use this year.)

Need: Gray wig and/or curling iron and gray spray-in hair color, a serious silk tracksuit, shoulder pads. Gratefulness for being a friend.
Related ideas: Other Golden Girls, obvs.

Last-minute cop-outs:
Shark: Tape a cardboard fin to your back
Unicorn: Tape a cardboard cone to your forehead
Narwhal: Tape a skinnier cardboard cone to your forehead.

Other costume ideas? C’mon I know you’ve got some good ones, so leave them in comments (including instructions on how to put it together).

Join the Conversation

  • Alexandra

    I dressed as Joan from Mad Men last year. I found a fantastic Joan dress at a local costume shop that has a lot of vintage stuff. Unfortunately it ended up getting torn, so I can’t wear it again this year. I had a lot of fun figuring out how to do the Joan hairstyle. Also, I have to admit I have a preference for femme, pretty costumes for myself, so I really liked it.

  • Becky Dier-McComb

    This year I found an awesome old dress in my closet that belonged to one of my dad’s cousins, its a floral off-the shoulder with princess seams. Very 90s churchy, OR 50s/60s Betty Draper housewife-y. I’m wearing it with heels and pearls and carrying a copy of Betty Friedan’s ‘The Feminine Mystique’ and going as a Feminist Awakening!!!

  • Monica

    Frida Kahlo!!
    Hair flowers and mascara your eyebrows, a peasant top helps too.

  • RedBean

    My most feminist costumes have been Rosie the Riveter, Xena, and Endora from Bewitched.

    This isn’t exactly feminist, but this year I’m going as a Tea Partier. I would put together a whole founding fathers costume, but I’m a slacker this year, so I’m just going to get an American flag shirt of some kind and a colonial tri-corner hat and make a stupid, misspelled sign that says something about how the separation of church and state isn’t in the constitution.

    Another feminist idea I have is to go as a suffragist, but that’s a little dorky and would have to be for just the right kind of event.

  • Mollie

    Ooooh I’m going as Justin Bieber, but now I kinda wanna be Rachel Maddow……

  • devoted_toucan

    Halloween isn’t celebrated here the way it is in America, and some of us envy how much it’s enjoyed there…however, the US seems to have made it into neither a celebration of witches OR of the opposite – scary things! Whenever I hear Americans talk about Halloween, it sounds like a night for dressing up as either anything, orrr it is portrayed as the one night that women can “get away with” dressing “slutty”. I think both of these are a shame, despite some of the funny outfits people come up with for the former. (The strangest, most recent example for me came during an online discussion in which I said that I’d dress as ‘Wednesday’ from ‘The Addam’s Family’ – if I were to dress as anything/anyone. The [American] lady I was talking to said that her sister had considered doing the same, but that they were going to a family gathering and all of the ‘Wednesday’ costumes she could find were very short skirts/shirts. ‘Wednesday’ is [almost always] a child character, people! And she certainly never dressed like that.)

    With the possible exceptions of Lady Gaga (when wearing her meat costume) and Kanye West, I wouldn’t consider any of those suggestions to be spooky. So, for any who wants to keep Halloween the scary way it should be :P, why not go as women or men from Horror films and stories (or even real life killers if you dare)? Or at least as characters who kick the ass of scary types :P.

    ‘Bloody Mary'; ‘Wednesday Addams’ or any of the ‘Addams’ family members; ‘Carrie'; ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ or any of the BtVS characters (good or bad); ‘Xena’ or ‘Gabrielle'; good or evil ‘Charmed’ characters (would be difficult to dress up as any of the main women, but if you love them enough then you could probably figure something out :P); one of the three sisters from the awesome film ‘Hocus Pocus'; ‘Alice’ from the ‘Resident Evil’ games or films (or ‘Jill Valentine’); ‘Samara’ (i.e. the girl from ‘The Ring’), etc.

    I’m also failing to see why more traditional spooky outfits have to be sexist and/or racist: ghosts, witches, vampires (all of which can include females and people of any race/ethnicity) Hannibal Lecter, Freddy Krueger, Jason, Michael Myers – same again for ethnicity, and perhaps not traditional for females, but who cares?

    Come on, America. Scare me with more than your politics. ;)

  • Matt

    I’m going to keep it simple and help my grandmother pass out candy while wearing this hat (it’s more orange in person):

  • JuneBug

    I’m going as Rosie the Riveter! I found a great denim shirt at a red and white polka dot head scarf at the salvation army. Tucking it in to a pair of jeans, wearing some good sturdy boots, and I’m set! Super cheap, great for dancing, and a good feminist costume! :o)

  • Katie

    Paper Bag Princess! I came up for this for my sister it’s cheap and easy. Cut and tape together some paper bags, get a crown and melt/burn bits of it, mess up hair, and cover self in make up that will make one look covered in ash/soot for correct singed by dragon look. I suggest wearing something under the paper bag because that’s just logical. Don’t forget to say to all princes (especially ones named Ronald) “You are a bum.”

  • Jessica “Jess” Victoria Carillo

    I got one! Are you tired how women in halloween costumes mostly get attention if they’re sexy or sweet? Or a combo of both? Wanna be funny and scary without the obviousness and still be cute?
    Be Miss Not-That-Nice! Just your everyday girl-next-door on a homicidal rampage! She dresses sweet and wholesome and all sugar and spice and everything nice and seems to be well-mannered and a good student, but she just killed her professor who’d dared to give her a D-! She has perfectly coiffed hair, a 50’s esque skirt, a sweet and adorable top, lacy overthings, and a bloody knife (fake one covered by red nail polish), with pink bobby socks and black slippers. She is sweet and lovable…as long as you don’t piss her off. Get attention the brainy way!

  • jrwittenberg

    I dressed as Sarah Palin last night. Pencil skirt, panty hose, straight neck top, suit jacket and black pointy toed pumps. I completed it with her signature glasses and a beauty queen sash that said Miss Informed. I even brought out my Midwest accent super hard and yelled at people making out to practice abstinence. Success I think.

book of manners cover (crop)

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